(Audio)Book Talk: *You Suck: A Love Story*, by Christopher Moore

You Suck: A Love Story
Christopher Moore (Twitter) (Facebook) (blog)
Read by Susan Bennett
William Morrow (2007), Edition: 1, Hardcover (ISBN 0060590297 / 9780060590291) (Audio ASIN B000MTEC80)
Fiction, 336 pages
Source: Purchased audiobook
Reason for reading: Personal, a favorite author

Opening Lines: “‘You bitch, you killed me! You suck!’

“Tommy had just awakened for the first time as a vampire. He was nineteen, thin, and had spent his entire life between states of amazement and confusion.

“‘I wanted us to be together.’ Jody: pale, pretty, long red hair hanging in her face, cute swoop of a nose in search of a lost spray of freckles, a big lipstick-smeared grin. She’d only been undead for a couple of months herself, and was still learning to be spooky.”

Book description, from the publisher’s website: Being dead sucks. Make that being undead sucks.

Literally. Just ask C. Thomas Flood. Waking up after a fantastic night unlike anything he’s ever experienced, he discovers that his girlfriend, Jody—the woman of his dreams—is a vampire. And surprise! Now he’s one, too.

For some couples, the whole biting-and-blood thing would have been a deal breaker. But Tommy and Jody are in love, and they vow to work through their issues. Like how much Jody should teach Tommy about his new superpowers (and how much he needs to learn on his own). Plus there’s Tommy’s cute new minion, sixteen-year-old goth girl Abby Normal. (Well, someone has to run errands during daylight hours!)

Making the relationship work, however, is the least of Jody and Tommy’s problems. Word has it that the vampire who nibbled on Jody wasn’t supposed to be recruiting any new members into the club. Even worse, Tommy’s erstwhile turkey-bowling pals are out to get him, at the urging of a blue-dyed Las Vegas call girl named (duh) Blue.

And that really sucks.

Comments: I’d suggest that you read Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends (also subtitled “A Love Story”) before cracking open – or pressing “play” on – You Suck. You can follow this novel – the middle installment in a trilogy – without it, because there is a fair amount of recapping, but it will probably make more sense if you’ve read the first book. That is, if a comic frightfest saga of modern vampire love in San Francisco is capable of making any sense at all…

Nineteen-year-old Midwesterner Tommy Flood’s efforts to keep his vampire girlfriend Jody Stroud safe by having her bronzed were rather undone by her escaping from her enclosure (in the form of mist) and turning him into her undead consort. Jody hasn’t been a vampire all that long herself, but she’s learned enough to show Tommy the ropes, which include finding food sources, never being caught out in the open at sunrise, and dodging Tommy’s former co-workers on the night crew at Safeway, a couple of homicide detectives, and the ancient vampire who originally turned Jody…and still wants to take her away from all this.

Christopher Moore is solidly ensconced on my “favorite authors” list, especially since I introduced my husband to his books, but it has taken me an embarrassingly long time to get around to reading You Suck – so long that I decided that I’d try listening to it instead. Having found that humor works in audio for me, I chose this as my first fiction audiobook (and first not read by the author), and I think I made a fine call. While I’ve been known to laugh out loud while reading Moore’s books in print, I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed as much as I did while listening to You Suck…and I’m not going to say that’s because it’s his funniest book (it might be, but I can’t really make that distinction). I think it’s that humor is enhanced by delivery, and it may be that sometimes it’s delivered more effectively in vocal and visual form than via words on a page. Narrator Susan Bennett does an excellent job with the voice characterizations here, particularly with Tommy, teenage perky-Goth-girl Abby Normal (who relates portions of the story, in teenage-Goth-speak, via her diary), and the homeless Emperor of San Francisco. In addition, she handles the narrative portions as the calm voice of reason, no matter how outlandish the situation gets – and with Christopher Moore, outlandish situations are a given.

I had the chance to see Christopher Moore in person last year on his book tour for Bite Me, also “a love story” and the last book in this series. During the Q&A, he said that he always intended to be a horror writer, and his early influences were in that genre, which explains the continued presence of vampires, zombies, and Death Merchants in his fiction. But when he first brought his stories to a writers’ workshop, “Everyone laughed at them. So I thought ‘Hey, maybe that’s what I do!'” He’s developed his own distinctive horror/humor hybrid…and it has heart, too.

Having caught up with You Suck, Bite Me – also narrated by Susan Bennett – was next up in my audiobook queue – and will be my next book review posted.

Rating: 3.75/5 for the book, 4/5 for the audio
Other reviews, via the Book Blogs Search Engine

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